Friday, 31 October 2014

Exxe(in)halation


This is in the running for the best compilation album of the year (the other one, celebrating a label's fifth birthday, is the other and will grace these pages next week). New Sydney label Exxe Records has gotten together the crud of the city's crop on Inhalation to contribute to a destructive record that reverberates to the point of combustion. The likes of Housewives, Ghastly Spats, Mope City and Drown Under tear things to their basest concerns, whilst tracks from Friendsters, Beef Jerk and king Tears Mortuary keep things off-kilter. Sacred Product and Kitchens Floor also appear in what is a pretty damn incredible release. Can't wait to see what they bring to the table next. Get Inhalation here.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

A Silent Drop In Holo Time


Let's drone out into the twilight with this new collaboration from Holodeck Records. From Ashes Comes The Day is a two-part behemoth crafted out of enmeshed workmanship by two consummate experimentalists - Drophead (AKA Montreal's Eric Craven) and Silent Land Time Machine (AKA Austin's Jonathan Slade). The seesawing drone narrative that exists here resonates primarily due to the strings that Slade incorporates, at once imitating a siren, a circular saw, a taut wire fence vibrating in a desert storm. The pregnant electrical maelstrom that comes over the horizon - guitar, effects, ephemeral noise - fills in the gaps and isolates; a seamless intersection that nevertheless evokes natural ostracism. Some of the reverberation reminds me of Neil Young's Dead Man score, if created as a backdrop for a dystopian tundra, the sun scorched an iridescent red. The cyclical nature of these two tracks also plays its part - it feels like a soundtrack to the post-apocalyptic ages, one destined to be passed down generation to generation as their livelihoods and likelihood to hold onto their humanity diminishes exponentially.

The thing about From Ashes Come The Day though is that I find this somehow prophetic, ebullient even. The interwoven guitar-and-viola feedback licks at the soul - a double-helix of like minds, creating a nebulous landscape that seeps from the cracks of a destroyed future, yet its mere existence is proof that the future is still worth fighting for.



Buy the LP here.

Driving The Telstar On An Endless Drugged Straight


Another day, another Calgary band influenced by Women. Telstar Drugs brought out their Endless Straight EP and Weather Underground cassette on the Perdu label (run by equally excellent band WTCHS), and these are six songs of intricacy, spider-thin guitar, languid-to-urgent atmosphere and tension. A subtle, subliminal draw-and-quartering.

Side note: My first car was a Ford Telstar. There were a lot of drugs smoked in that car. So the name holds a lot of nostalgia for me. Heady, heavy times. Get Endless Straight here.




Lashed By Blonde Tongues



How good is 'Seilu'? The new single from Brisbane band Blonde Tongues. I first heard these guys when I got them to open up an Ocean Party launch at The Beetle Bar November last year. They were good, and good dudes - occupying the pool table for most the night. A year on, and they have provided the world with this great dreamy noise barb -  a drifting miasma of contemplation that sheds the delicate chrysalis in a blistering shower of warm sonic sparks. The flipside is this laidback, sun-dappled gem 'Beer', offering an acoustic-led jangly counterpoint that is decidedly perennial, not linked to Australia yet intrinsically linked to Australia - a blazed chimera. This duality is positive - the intricacy and delicacy the band takes to their approach, whether it be shoegaze-affiliated or in the languid realms of guitar pop, is something to be excited about.

These songs have actually been out since July - when I was moving hemispheres - so I'm late to the party here. Better late than not at all. The four-piece have an album on the way - I for one cannot wait.


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Um, I Know About Pinkshinyultrablast...


It is bizarre that I have heard of pinkshinyultrablast before now. It was in January actually. I was talking to Tim of Tyms Guitars about a bunch of things, but especially his second year of the Singles Club (which saw lots of excellent one-offs, including music from The Nation Blue, Turnpike, Isaiah Mitchell of Earthless and Brett Nelson of Built to Spill amongst many others). He mentioned that he had been talking to Roku Music, who were about to release their debut album Collider as my debut Sonic Masala Records release, about writing a song for it. He had already pencilled in the split side for them. He then played me the EP Happy Songs For Happy Zombies from a little Russian band called...pinkshinyultrablast. They had actually gotten in touch with Tim - albeit with rudimentary English - about their recordings, which were sporadic seeing as it was difficult to find appropriate studio space and equipment in the country. Anyway, the music blew me away (as Tim knew it would). I thought, this is the kind of shoegaze that I can get behind...


Fast forward almost a year, and the St Petersburg five-piece have been signed by premier UK shoegaze label Club AC30 (recent output - Ringo Deathstarr, Exit Calm, Flyying Colours, and Gavin Clark) is the toast of the British towns. The gossamer glory that is single 'Umi' finally has a trailer and the Syren's call that it is is fuelled by sepia-toned foliage, vistas, horizons... It's blissful. As for that Tym's release - it hasn't come to be. YET. Nevertheless, we can all be excited that this album Everything Else Matters (which was remixed by the band at the beginning of the year, and has been a bit of a trial coming to fruition) will be flooding the sense in no time - January 2015, in fact.

Getting Ttotalled


One of my favourite releases from last year was the bruised blues drone that is 7" Spectrums Of Light. Nashville duo Ttotals have returned with full-length Let Everything Come Through (again on Twin Lakes Records). It is even more atmospheric - 'Tricks of the Trade' has a goth post punk crawl about it, while 'Life Thus Far-Out' thumps forward like Crystal Stilts stripping a Wooden Shjips jam to its barest bones. 'Hearts Always Start Up' marches forward inexorably, a trampling heartbeat that blooms into a guttural groan swirling in the mists. Yet my favourite track (right now at least) is opener 'Take Care Of Me' - a soft blowing harmonic breeze that explodes in a caterwaul of noise. Expect this one to grow, and grow, and grow - and for me to mention this come the end of December. Get it here.


Hits From The Box #89 - Holiday Doldrums


I know how ungrateful this is going to sound - but here goes.

I'm on holidays - and I hate it.

I have been unemployed for five months. A few weeks of that time was amazing - especially the first couple of weeks. Because I thought I would walk into a job, I lived it up. Then weeks and months went by, and I spent most of my time searching for jobs, writing applications and doing interviews, to no avail.

Then last week, after a few bits and pieces that scraped things together, I snagged myself a job! Not what I am looking for really, but it's good money, and it'll do until I can find something that I want to really do. I was raring to go - but then the company enforced a week of unpaid holiday on me. It sucks, because I have no money to enjoy it.

Oh cry me a fucking river, right? I live in London - it's time I wrung every free good time and favour out of the place, right? Yeah, I think I will. And it was doing what I normally do - listening to music - that got me out of the "holiday doldrums". I might even go to see an exhibition or a film tomorrow, eat some fine foods, LIVE LIFE. Or drink eight pints. At home. Watching Bob's Burgers. And listening to music. Which to be honest sounds bloody amazing.

Roll on the holiday.


The Wilful Boys is a Aussie-bred maelstrom that have landed and seeped into the sewers of New york City. They are about to release their first 7" on Ever/Never Records (who put out another Aussie ex-pat noise band in Degreaser), and if 'Anybody There' is anything to go by, this is the start of a fantastically fetid and feral rutting. The guttural utterances, the rancid squalls, the barb-wire abrasions - it's an acid blast to the face, cleaned up with an electric sander. Consider me an acolyte already.




With a name like West Thebarton Brothel Party, you would expect a band to be loose and a bit ridiculous. And this Adelaide seven-piece surely is that. But when a cricket reference is in the offing, you know I'm there in a heartbeat. 'Glenn McGrath' is an obvious touchstone - but there is enough ramshackle aggression fuelled by booze and bombast (and copious Warnie doffs of the hat) to keep the interest. It's a wailing, brainless belter - it'll have you sloshing the suds all over the walls in no time.




Some more Aussie ex-pats here sort of - this time hunkered down in London - Hunck is made up of members of Jonathan Boulet and Many Things, and offers a glistening cinematic pop sheen that is both atmospheric and bombastic. The two tracks out thus far, 'Toy Trucks' and 'Something Missing', are languid sojourns through a lackadaisical yet wistful lens - life looked at with eyelids and grins at half mast.






Here is something decidedly wonky from the Teflon Beast stable (as if they know how to do anything else?) Arrow Of Being is a duo comprised of TB mainstay Geoff and Mike Pursley (Mold Omen), and is predominantly Pursley playing guitar in a spectral off-kilter jam whilst Geoff fills in the gaps in the way only he knows how. It's an incredible meditation on creation, dissemination and devolution. I think. What it is, is amazing.




Back to Australia - Sydney specifically - and Wolf Cola, a new two piece who I'm pretty sure are referencing the great (and nihilistic) show It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. It's garage pop, it's fun, it's a bit garish, it revels in being in tune and out of time, of its time and out of tune. They are recording more work, so expect to hear more from these dudes real soon.




Finishing up with boys from my backyard (New Cross in London - well, close enough) Whistlejacket. It has a bit more shoegaze swirl but it reminds me of some of the louder yet stretched moments of Male Bonding. 'Mr Melon' is a shuffling wall of squall, both 90s nostalgia and evergreen malaise. Above all else, it has a textural noise that I could overdose on.



Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Running Man On Fire


Ty Segall and Drag City joined forces recently to start the God? imprint. It's been involved in some tasty morsels - White Fence and Wand being the most recognised. The one I have just latched on to though is the little-recognised but brilliantly anarchic Chicago trio Running (whose albums Vaguely Ethnic and Asshole Savant are untouchable) and their 7" Frizzled. Here is the B-side, 'Totally Fired' - and it is as deliciously unhinged as you would expect. Underneath the abrasive guitars is a weirdly hummable melody - no? Can't hear it? Whatever. Running is my new pop band to the stars. Get Frizzled here.

Splitsville In Hopelesstown, Lake Michigan


Here is the first of two split releases we are looking at today. Fred mentioned not too long ago about a Queensland label called Ruined Smile - his childhood memories are back here. Reaching across the globe to give voice to unheralded acts, one of their first releases is this split cassette between English pastoral explorer Lake Michigan and his Australian counterpart Hopelesstown (split released with Canberra-based label Lacklustre).

Now this comes at a weird coincidental cross roads for me, as yesterday I was looking for an album to put on the record player while my girlfriend did her college work. Flicking through I came across Out Of The Shadow, the 2003 debut record from Rogue Wave. I don't remember ever buying it, let alone playing it. We played it - it suited the gentle 'I'm doing work' vibe we were looking for. Then I looked up what they had been up to since, and saw they had written that 'Lake Michigan' song that I had heard on a hell of a lot of TV commercials a few years ago...

Then I saw this in the inbox. It's not the same - it's much better. Each artist shares three tracks. Lake Michigan is not like Rogue Wave. These three meditations reverberate due to their witching hour permutations - floating out of focus, somewhere between warmth and freezing cold, condensation setting on windows, the heat emanating from a lightly strummed guitar and the breath hovering in front of the lips. Reclaiming life, whether it be through mumblecore mantras ("Every fight, and fuck, and falling over...is ours") or through static-ridden proclamations from Dr Frasier Crane, is the order of the day. A melancholic yet positive experience.

Hopelesstown feels like a pea from the same pod - maybe even rubbing spherical shoulders. The reverb is heavily on display, but the songs play with recorded convention - 'Smitten' is fuzzed and roughed up, a scratchy and sedate declaration of unrequited love. 'Other' opens up a little more, although the autumnal cryogenic permutations continue to permeate. Closer 'Spring 2' sits somewhere between the two, and glows lazily, a sunrise warding off the frost.

Lake Michigan/Hopelesstown might fuel many a frigid morning here in the Northern Hemisphere, but is sure to warm the cockles in the drenching summer heat too. Nice work. Buy it here (there's only 4 left).

Monday, 27 October 2014

Sprawl Out With Vaadat Charigim


Ever since Juval, one of the members of Tel Aviv rockers Vaadat Charigim, contacted me a couple years ago to talk about the scene there, I have been enraptured by the band's rise. Since then they have put out an excellent album The World Is Well Lost through Burger Records, and played a plethora of shows across the world. In anticipation of their next foray into the studio, the trio have given us 'Badeshe Mul Gilman' which will appear as part of a 7" split series that excellent psych label Reverberation Appreciation Society is putting out next year. It's a gargantuan affair, a nine minute free-fall sprawl, weightless yet pregnant with purpose. There is no aggression here, merely a dream-like assertion that this march may take forever, but the journey is everything. Then when you do you reach your destination - a holiday, a home, a school like the cover - it might be better to lay down in the grass and soak up the moment. Hit play, repeat.

Ex Breathers With Bite


Tallahassee cro-mag men Ex-Breathers release a brutal 7" through Texas Is Funny Records soon (preorder it here). Exbx is great because the bass is so prevalent throughout, never moreso than on excellent opener 'Big Hand' and 'Pocket' before the guitar rips in and flays you open. There is respite - sort of - with the brooding sludge of 'Hang', but otherwise its relentless evisceration. Fucking great.



The genetics doesn't change when in other company either, as their cut from the four-way Community Records split (others featured - Ovlov, Gnarwhal, Woozy). 'Falling Away' shows the larynx-tear but the heart beating underneath. The other tracks are excellent too - you can get this here.



Growing Up Wrong In Native America


A New Orleans trio called Native America. I can't work out if that is a contentious moniker or not. What I CAN work out is their laconic guitar pop that these guys churn out. There are remnants of Real Estate, Kurt Vile and The Shins in the tunes that colour new LP Grown Up Wrong (out next month on Inflated Records, also home to Speedy Ortiz and Ducktails). It has that distant percolated warble that evokes a narcolept version of '60s paisley rock, faint swathes of surf rock malaise, and the dark riptide of rock breakouts that often appear without warning and sweep you away. Many of these tracks don't reach three minutes either, which makes these movements deceptive yet imminently addictive.






You can pre-order Grown Up Wrong here.

Wireheads Spend 8:19 In Tenth Court


Brisbane scrappers Tenth Court Records have been pumping out some great releases since kicking off this year - with the likes of Thigh Master, Martyr Privates and Dag (plus others yet to mention) putting out tapes. The newest edition is Country Space Junk, the new EP from Adelaide loose cannons Wireheads. Coming off the back of their excellent record The Late Great Wireheads that came out earlier this year (we loved it), here are seven wonky tracks of - well - cowboy space junk. This clip is for opener 'Eight Minutes & 19 Seconds', complete with "space outfits", "space helmets", "space ship", "cowboy drummer" - Trimboli's lyrics about explosive machines and scientific magazines suitably hypnotic and laconic, whilst his vocals are as scratched and unrelenting as ever. It's a great song, a great film clip, a great band.




You can (and should) buy Cowboy Space Junk here.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Active Supply Of Mind Dynamics


Just a short post here about this great release by Brooklyn duo Mind Dynamics. Active Supply is an album of stuttering stasis - a noisy melange of beats and rhythms that circles around you with the cold, steely precision and taut patience - like being stranded in a sea of white noise, being circled by sharks. Yet for all its tetchy unease and bluster Active Supply is an enjoyable experience - an adrenal rush of synthetic survival. You can pick it up through Digitalis here.


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Octopus Pi's Not Waving But Drowning


Sydney purveyors of psychedelic outliers Octopus Pi have put together this great compilation Not Waving But Drowning, showcasing their eclectic roster plus a few other familiar faces. Kicking off with the deliciously off-kilter 'Bon Voyage' from the inimitable master of the lackadaisical faux-yacht rock Nathan Roche, the collection also includes cuts from Psyclops Eyepatch, Dead Radio and two tracks by Subterranean Rain. Favourite offerings - Roche's effort (obviously), The Holy Soul's 'Psychotic Notions', Wild Cat Falling's 'Dead Beat Walkabout', and Mickey Gloss' 'Heart Inside My Chest'. The compilation has been put together as a fundraiser for the Refugee Council of Australia - read more here. Not Waving But Drowning is available as a digital download for $5, pick one up here.


Friday, 24 October 2014

Quango's Finally Unchained


Sometimes a band fizzles out before they really get going, but still manage to leave behind a legacy. Case in point will always be Death, the Detroit garage punk band doing it before anyone had ever heard of the Sex Pistols or MC5 - not even dreamt such a thing could happen - that only came to light when one of the members' sons discovered recordings in the family attic. There is a 7" out now (through First World Problems Records) called Fatality - made up of the only existing demos from a band in London that only played one gig. Their name - Quango. And the two songs on the B-Side have that Pistols arrogance and spat venom (and are still great, especially 'QuickQuid'), it's the A-side title track that really floors. Talking about a real-life death at a train station, the song is a heady mix of feverish guitar, a Mark E Smith monotone that somehow still feels barbed and furious, and a hectic pace driven forward by drums and bass that are incessantly tight. It's an incredible song. All three tracks sound great to be honest - their low-grade recordings make them seem like long lost balltearers from the 70s. And whilst they don't have the time-capsule mysticism that surrounds the resurrection of Death - these songs were recorded only a couple years ago to be fair - the authenticity and the vintage sound lends Fatality a "what might have been" quality that is undeniable. The 7" is sold out unfortunately, so indulge in the digital here.

Video Vacuum - Twerps, September Girls, Magic Bones, Los Angeles Police Department


It's starting to cool down/heat up in here (depending on your end of the world), but we all like music and not working, so let's link hands as one and skive off, yeah?


Twerps' new single 'Back To You' makes me so happy. Its so bright and bubbling and happy (sounding) - and the random footage of Aussie exteriors, both commercial, industrial and residential - it really gives me the warm and fuzzies. That dog too, Jesus, did someone film a dream of mine? If so, I wouldn't mind this being my theme tune. And hopefully it all keeps coming back - to this, and to you.


The bewitching September Girls take things one step further on the video for 'Veneer', going deep Goth that puts the hex firmly on those Craft wannabes. The last frame, of the black dripping on the floor - for the woman to now have white hair - is a pretty cool concept. Shedding physicalities through a viscous liquid. A killer song (figuratively), a killer clip (literally).


Yet another addition to the burgeoning cesspool of Aussie garage rock antics, Magic Bones comes barrelling forth with a video for new track 'Anytime Anywhere', a song that holds firmly onto the nutso schizoid Thee Oh Sees mantra and doesn't quit. It's a really fun song. The video is normal garage lunacy - by which I mean it's anything but normal - further heightened by a drummer that is a mic between Wolf Creek's Mick Taylor and The Muppets' Animal (and a blink-and-you'll miss it floating head on a 70s Test batsman).


Finally, let's hang with Los Angeles Police Department! Not the force, just this one guy. Fred has been pretty much in love with LAPD's new album, and while I wait for him to put his skewed thoughts in check to write about it, I thought I would show off 'Enough Is Enough' in audio-visual form. It's a languid jam (as are all of LAPD's songs), but it is also pretty effortless, and the dude looks like a cool guy to hang around with. He also looks a bit like Brian Gibson from Lightning Bolt, but I'm pretty sure the polar opposites of those musical streams speak for themselves. A knitted Giants jumper is a nice touch too dude.

NOW GET BACK TO WORK!!!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Take Off And Give WIth A Heligator


Ryan Hall is one of the founders of excellent Denver-based blog Tome To The Weather Machine, which shines a slanted light on the outliers of making sounds. He is also responsible for Heligator Records, a label extension of this outlook that showcases original pieces made especially for the project. I have mentioned a couple of their releases in the past, most notably Lake Mary and Nathan Wheeler. What makes the label even more important is where the money raised goes to. All money raised is donated to the Malindza Refugee Camp Library in Mpaka, Swaziland.The money goes to maintaining the library and providing a small stipend to the volunteer, refugee librarians. The library is home to over 1,500 books, two computers as well as English and French classes taught by refugee volunteers. To learn more about the Library and where your money is going please visit the Library's blog.

The last four albums to come from the roster are just as beguiling... I actually started writing up a review of Make-Overs' self-titled EP back in July, the South African duo donating the four tracks for the cause. There is a uneasy juxtaposition between the melodious arrangements that teeters from a sunny disposition to one of wary disdain - a slowed down, metronomic post-punk that never fully pulverises nor pulsates (although 'Sharp Teeth' tears through and holds its own), but rather seeps through the defences. 'Never Enough' reminds me of a downbeat Pixies, whilst 'Jellybean' percolates like The Stone Roses at their most embryonic. The best song though is opener 'Surprize' - it seethes, sullen yet persistent, brooding yet pugnacious.



Utah guitar manipulator Braeyden Jae (who has his own collation of out-there artists with Inner Islands), donates 'Switches', a six minute rolling opus of glacial electric discharge, a sonic stormcloud building inexorably on the horizon. It never exults in a deafening apocalyptic implosion however - by the song's end we are revitalised and reborn. It's a beautiful track.



Oakland surfers of the outer realms Clipd Beaks threw their chips in the ring with 'FKWRK', a roiling psych jam that starts as a subtle simmer, a few glimpses of broiling hermetics, before a rawk explosion hits, the distortion/delay/flange/hallucinogenics kick in, the reedy calls become wails...and we are wasted. All within three and a half minutes. A lot of people forget that good psych can be short. Clipd Beaks haven't.



Finally we have Landing - yes, Landing! 'Traveling' eschews the drum machine beats of their last few releases, and we are left with a alluring Syren squall of a track, with Aaron Snow murmuring "I'm not invisible" before piercing the sky with his sharp, shimmering guitar lines. It's such a great track, and seeing as it is exclusively available through Heligator, and the money goes to a great cause, you would be a fool not to at least chip in a dollar...



So as you can see, you the listener gets a lot out of this pay-for-music malarkey as well as knowing you are contributing to an extremely worthwhile cause. Win-bloody-win.

Tell Ya Mates Your Body Is A Peep Tempel

(Story by Fred Savage Beasts)

I used to have these neighbours who would yell at their kids all the time. Things like ‘Get off the fuckin’ table, Tyler, and put your bloody sister to bed’ and ‘Where did you put my fuckin’ durries, Tyler?’ They were always really nice whenever we met putting out the bins. He was fly in, fly out. She was slightly out of it most of the time. I never actually found out what their names were, apart from Tyler, that is.

Most times we would make small talk. She thought the neighbours two doors were a “coupla fuckwits” and that Australian Idol was rigged. He thought that anyone who didn’t drink Toohey’s New was a “bloody poof”. These are the families Australia is pretty good at producing. Docile bodies for a docile land. A place where change is always a day or two away (until it rears up right in front of you and casts off years of ‘she’ll be rights’ in an awkward and angry mix of sweat and under-expressed emotions). And we just get on with it. And we love it. And we love it. But does it love us?

I can’t help but think the answer is ‘no’.

The Peep Tempel get all of this into Tales. There is a pent-up, self-aware restlessness, like the eyes of a butchered pig, smiling lipless as its hoofs and arsehole gets shoved into a sausage destined for Tyler’s dinner cause his dad just spent all his cash on a new dirt bike. There is paranoia. The big fish around here keep going on about just how big they are. Yet deep down under the beer-battered gills, they’re not sure they’re that big at all.

But this is not judgement from on high. It’s a strobe-light on the wooden dance floor of run down pubs around Australia. Car lights through the front windows of the houses along the main roads where shame is lashed with Toohey’s New and kids get up on tables with their parent’s packets of durries because the government spent money on fighter jets instead of more teachers at school. Tales shows the bits and pieces of the families that get up and go to work every morning to make enough money to get by.

The last thing I ever heard those neighbours say sums it up for me, I reckon. Tyler was running in a million directions at once around the front yard while his dad put the bin out. Tears all down his face. “He’s just split up with his missus at school today, poor little fucker.” Tyler heard his dad and ran fist-first for him. His dad just slapped him on the back. “Don’t worry, mate. We’ll always love ya.”

Get Tales here.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Hits From The Box #88 - Back Attack!


I'm too young to have a bad back. Thing is, I've had a bad back since I was a kid - a bow in my spine that I was supposed to do daily exercises for, to try and straighten it out. Instead I played heavy contact sports, got high and drank a load of beer. Which means I sometimes slip discs, or aggravate nerves, and hobble around like an old man chomping down paracetamol and codeine like M&M's. That's what I'm doing today. Was hoping to go to work - instead have been stuck here having spasms, watching episodes of Homeland and wondering why do I even bother.

It's bands like the next six that make me bother. Bands outta nowhere that get you up and moving.


Let's kick things off with a sandblast of the brain from Comet Control. Rising from the ashes of equally excellent Quest For Fire, the Toronto five-piece is a tightly coiled machine, eschewing the astral blow-outs that QFR brandished with pride for a more full-bore assault. This streamlined approach to their psych aesthetics lends a fiery shadow that gives the album a gut-punch immediacy, while also suggesting that stretching them out into wilder terrain on the stage is always imminent. A great band, this one.





Let's stay in Canada. Dead Soft is a Vancouver trio riding the wave of 90s grunge-laden guitar rock that I for one never seem to get sick of. The reason why Dead Soft stick out from the masses is its melodicism is much more at the forefront; these guys want the hooks to stay stuck in you, even after the ringing in the ears subsides (IF it subsides...) Listen to 'Never Forever' and feel the adolescent within come alive. They have the essence of what is making Violent Soho such an explosive band in Australia - sure, they are more introspective, but they know when to take things up a notch. this is a lot of fun.




Curtin really dig Spiderland don't they? Well, who doesn't? 'I'm A Ghost' smacks of Slint's hushed march to a screeching guitar maelstrom, and whilst it doesn't have the wily finesse of that seminal band - who does? - it makes for a attention-grabbing introduction to the band. Their album One For The Doghearted is pretty great - there is a similar cathartic release at the end of 'Flood', whilst other elements stand out. The pastoral guitar crossing with a staccato snare to open 'Funeral', a tempered ride into an American dusk netherland; the electronic interference that showers sparks of ephemeral hope at the end of 'Better Ride'; the Yo La Tengo breeze that blows through 'Big Crown Blue'... Great stuff.




Straddling Bristol and Wales is the crooked marauders New Cowboy Builders. Their new 7" Black Moses is acerbic, relentless and bullheaded - you can see that the shadow of Future Of The Left is cast long over these guys. Not as frenetic and maniacally satirical, perhaps, but you can add these guys to the long line of British acts that like ripping places apart with a drunken quip and a devilish grin firmly intact.




Shiny Darkly - not overly enamoured with the name. But the 80s swirling goth post-punk that this Copenhagen trio dished out on new single 'Soft Skin' is much more riveting. Sharing some of the Bauhaus/Cure DNA that SMR band Gazar Strips ascribe to, as well as their proclivity for serrated breaks, 'Soft Skin' is a bruising encounter. More please.



Finishing off in Madrid, we are serenaded by the garage leanings of The Parrots. The trio just released the 7" Loving You Is Hard, a loose amalgam of Black Lips/Davila 666/Tiny Migrants 60s garage wildness. They are playing in London alongside Thee MVPs tonight at The Social - get along.



Happy Wednesday everyone!